'What in God's name were you thinking?' senators grill Wells CEO
By Andrea Riquier
"Wells Fargo is not going to change with you in charge," Senator Elizabeth Warren told Sloan
The chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co. on Tuesday faced senators unimpressed with the bank's claims of progress in rectifying a massive scandal that lasted years and ensnared millions of customers.
"My task is to make sure nothing like this happens again at Wells," CEO Tim Sloan, a former CFO who was elevated after the ouster of John Stumpf last fall, told the Senate Banking Committee.
Sloan outlined steps Wells(WFC) had taken to address the management structure that incentivized opening accounts for customers fraudulently, and to make affected customers whole. But most legislators said those actions -- and Sloan's testimony --fell far short.
The hearing marked one year since regulators settled with Wells (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wells-fargo-hit-with-185-million-penalty-over-account-openings-and-employee-incentives-2016-09-08) over the opening of 2 million phony accounts--and since then, additional wrongdoing has emerged. In July, the New York Times broke the news that Wells had charged hundreds of thousands of customers for auto insurance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/as-wells-fargos-woes-mount-its-board-may-be-on-the-firing-line-2017-08-08) they didn't request or require--a practice that in many cases resulted in overdrawn accounts, fees, and car repossessions.
Just days later, the bank told regulators that the number of unauthorized accounts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wells-fargos-stock-takes-a-dive-after-news-that-unauthorized-accounts-created-could-be-more-than-expected-2017-08-04) should be revised much higher, to 3.5 million.
On Tuesday, Sloan was asked whether the actual count of fraudulent accounts could be even higher than that. He told legislators that he was confident 3.5 million would be the final tally--and more than one noted that Stumpf had said the same thing, a year before.